Case study: TX trauma hospital faces neurosurgery crisis

In a situation echoed in emergency departments around the country, the ED at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital has been turning away patients with brain and spine injuries for months due to a shortage of neurosurgeons. Worse, the neurosurgeons who remain have been threatening to leave, tired of being overworked because of the shortage. Harris would like to recruit as many as five additional neurosurgeons, but national shortages have made this extremely difficult.

The hospital, a level 2 trauma center, has just four neurosurgeons available, covering every other day. Right now, ambulances must frequently take those with serious injuries to publicly-funded John Peter Smith, which is nearby. The neurosurgeons at JPS have seen their workload grow 84 percent, to 794 consultations last year. Meanwhile, the number of trauma patients admitted to Harris dropped 7 percent from 2006 to 2007.

To learn more about Harris' issues:
- read this Fort Worth Star-Telegram article

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